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Oscars Provide Stage for Participant Media's Comeback Story


New York Times

By Brooks Barnes

February 22, 2019

 

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Just a couple of years ago, Participant Media, a film and television company founded in 2004 by the eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll, seemed to have lost its way. Badly.

Bets on movies like “Denial,” about Holocaust disavowal, and “The Light Between Oceans,” a romance involving a moral quandary, were not paying off as expected. In a retrenchment, Participant, which focuses on issues-oriented entertainment, laid off 50 percent of its work force and closed three divisions. Mr. Skoll ousted the company’s chief executive.

Talk about a roaring comeback. 

Participant, now led by David Linde, a former chairman of Universal Pictures, heads into Sunday’s Academy Awards with three major contenders and 17 overall nominations. Netflix has received all the attention for “Roma,” a front-runner for best picture. But Participant financed the film and shopped it to distributors, ultimately choosing Netflix. Participant was also behind “Green Book,” another best-picture favorite, rescuing the movie when another studio had passed on making it. Read more

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Participant MediaAbout Participant Media

Founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll, Participant Media’s (www.participantmedia.com) content combines the power of a good story well told with opportunities for real world impact and awareness around the most pressing global issues of our time. As an industry content leader, Participant annually produces up to six narrative feature films, five documentary films, three episodic television series, and more than 30 hours of digital short form programming, through its digital subsidiary SoulPancake—all aimed at entertainment that inspires social awareness and engaging audiences to participate in positive social change. Participant’s content and social impact mandate speaks directly to the rise of today’s “conscious consumer,” representing over 2 billion consumers who are compelled to make impactful content a priority focus. Through its worldwide network of traditional and digital distribution, aligned with partnerships with key non-profit and NGO organizations, Participant is positioned uniquely within the industry to engage a rapidly growing audience while bringing global awareness and action to today’s most vital issues.

Participant’s more than 100 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 73 Academy Award® nominations and 18 wins, including Best Picture for Green Book and Spotlight and Best Foreign Language Film for Roma and A Fantastic Woman. Participant’s digital entertainment division, SoulPancake (www.soulpancake.com), is an award-winning provider of thought-provoking, joyful, and uplifting digital content including such widely popular series as Kid President and The Science of Happiness and reaches an audience of nearly 9 million fans. Follow Participant Media on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram. Follow SoulPancake on Twitter and on Facebook and Instagram.

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Participant Media became a Certified B Corporation in 2018. B Corps are a new type of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corp certification is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.